America split on gay rights

Florida grants adoption while Military doesn’t want to know

By Bianca Brais

While the Senate turned down a proposal to abolish the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban, a Florida law forbidding gay men and lesbians to adopt was revoked last Tuesday.

“Our family just got a lot more thankful for this Thanksgiving,” Frank Martin Gill, a gay man from North Miami said in a news release issued by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ruling gave him permission to legally adopt the two foster children he had been raising since 2004.

The law was unconstitutional and violated equal protection rights for children and their potential parents, Judge Cindy S. Lederman of Miami-Dade Circuit Court explained to the New York Times. “The best interests of children are not preserved by prohibiting homosexual adoption.”

The initial debate about gay couples adopting arose when the state presented experts who argued that there was a higher incidence of drug and alcohol abuse in homosexual relationships. The New York Times reported that the relationships of same-sex couples were less stable than those of heterosexuals and that their children suffered a societal stigma.

“It is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person’s ability to parent,” Judge Lederman wrote. The evidence contradicting those contentions were found by Mr. Rosenwald, one of Mr. Gill’s lawyers.

Mr. Rosenwald told the New York Times that this was a major victory for gay and lesbian parents as well as for the 1,000 children who are waiting to be adopted in Florida.

Although homosexuals are now allowed to adopt in Florida, they still have to hide their sexuality in order to join the military.

When Barack Obama ran for President in 2008, he campaigned that he would eventually repeal the ban. “Mr. Obama first wants to confer with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his new political appointees at the Pentagon to reach a consensus and then present legislation to Congress,” reported the Washington Times.

Lawrence Korb, an analyst at the Center for American Progress and an adviser to the Obama campaign reminded the Washington Times that shortly after taking office in 1993, President Clinton botched the same issue. “The President ordered the Pentagon to rescind the regulation that excluded gays.”

The case is likely to end up before the State Supreme Court, said a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office. Even though the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban is still under debate, the adoption law for homosexuals is progressing.

“The Legislature voted to prohibit adoptions by gay men and lesbians in 1977, in the midst of a campaign led by the entertainer Anita Bryant to repeal a gay rights ordinance adopted by Dade County.” reported the New York Times.

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